THE DEPARTMENT of Justice (DOJ) is open to putting the former driver-bodyguard of Sen. Leila de Lima and a former Justice undersecretary in the Witness Protection Program (WPP) if they can testify to the lawmaker’s links to illegal drug syndicates in the New Bilibid Prison (NBP).
In a text message to The Manila Times, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre 2nd said the driver, Ronnie Palisoc Dayan, and former Justice undersecretary Francisco Baraan could be viable state witnesses against de Lima.
“Theoretically, yes, if accusations are true and they (Dayan and Baraan) do not appear to be the most guilty,” Aguirre said when asked if the two could qualify under the WPP.
Under the Rules on Criminal Procedure of the Rules of Court, a person can be tapped as state witness if he or she “does not appear to be the most guilty” of the crime involved.
Aguirre also said the DOJ would conduct a probe on de Lima after investigators found out that two former officials of the DOJ protected drug lords inside the NBP.
“Isusunod na namin iyan [That will be next],” Aguirre said in a separate interview.
President Rodrigo Duterte last week linked de Lima to the drug trade, claiming she had an affair with her driver-bodyguard who collected money from drug syndicates to fund her senatorial campaign.
Whistleblower Sandra Cam, meanwhile, has claimed Baraan knew about the operations of de Lima and Dayan.
De Lima allegedly gave Dayan a house in Urbiztondo, Pangasinan. Baraan is said to be a native of Pangasinan and was a former board member of the province.